Upward Bound Funding Cut in President Obama’s FY 2011 Budget

Upward Bound is funded through a grant from the United States Department of Education. It is an investment in the future, assisting high school students who are potential first-generation college students and/or from low income families to prepare for success in college by offering tutoring, supplemental educational and cultural opportunities, college entrance exam preparation, and college and career exploration. In the 2007 Upward Bound grant competition, nearly 200 then-existing programs lost their funding–most from historically black institutions. Those programs were restored with funds from the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA).

On February 1st of this year, President Obama presented his Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 budget request to Congress. This budget, if it is approved, will go into effect October 1,  2010, and it does not include sufficient funds to fund all 956 of the current Upward Bound programs in the US for the academic year 2011-2012. Rather, President Obama’s FY2011 budget request only provides enough funds to support 778 Upward Bound programs that year.

Because the FY2011 budget request to Congress does not provide enough funding for all of the current programs beginning in 2011-2012, the Department of Education plans to host a competition for  Upward Bound in late summer/early fall 2010. This will allow them to reduce the total number of projects in the 2011-2012 school year to 778. This is a loss of at least 178 currently existing programs, and it is estimated that when the total number of new applicants are factored in, without an increase of $57 million, 275 current programs could be discontinued (a staggering 28 percent of the current numbers of programs).

The Upward Bound programs at the University of Montevallo were not funded under the CCRAA, but every Classic Upward Bound program is at risk–including the ones at UM–as this will be a regular competition. Unsuccessful applications will not get funded–regardless of whether they were funded by CCRAA or not. New applicants may also win grant awards. Therefore, it is crucial to get Congress to include at least an additional $57 million in discretionary funds otherwise the total number of Upward Bound projects will be far lower in program year 2011-2012.

It is crucial that Upward Bound alumni, personnel, students, and families call their Senators (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm) and Representatives (https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml) and protest this cut.

UMUB alumni, students, and families in Bibb, Chilton, and Shelby counties need to contact the following:

The Honorable Richard Shelby

The Honorable Jeff Sessions

The Honorable Spenser Bachus

You may phone their offices, but please write a letter or an email as this will have more impact.

When writing your senator or representative, it is proper to use “The Honorable” with his name (as written above) for the address on the envelope and the inside address. Use “Dear Senator” and his name for senators (eg. Dear Senator Shelby, Dear Senator Sessions), and “Dear Mr.” for Representatives (eg. Dear Mister Bachus). Make sure you highlight what these programs mean to you personally and what the programs mean to your region.  It is imperative that the letter show passion and disappointment with the possibility of losing more than 12,000 students in the upcoming competition.

The links below are to sample letters that you can use as guides to getting started on writing your letter. Please personalize them to your own style.

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